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About Kendall Gunter

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    Giving Thanks at Holidays, with Family and Death

    Giving Thanks at Holidays, with Family and Death

    “You brought us out of nothing into being, and when we had fallen away, You raised us up again.” My dad’s family gathered in his parents’ kitchen, all 27 of us, for the Thanksgiving thanksgiving. Before my dad’s dad prayed, as he always does at these meals, my grandma spoke up. Papa would be having […]

    And a Time to Laugh: The Comedy of Christmas in Auden and <i>The Second Shepherds' Play</i>

    And a Time to Laugh: The Comedy of Christmas in Auden and The Second Shepherds’ Play

    Christmas is ridiculous. That’s probably one reason it took the spot of ancient midwinter festivals like Saturnalia, when everything went topsy-turvy. Consider this excerpt from Auden’s For the Time Being, when Simeon at last sees Jesus: SIMEON Because in Him the Flesh is united to the Word without magical transformation, Imagination is redeemed from promiscuous […]

    Failure in the Gospel (Almost) According to Critical Theory

    Failure in the Gospel (Almost) According to Critical Theory

    Theologians of the cross emerge from unexpected sources. Which is fitting, since the Gospel is for nobody but those who fall short of expectations (AKA all of us). These purveyors and exemplars of low anthropology are psychologists, athletes, journalists, philosophers, and, beyond their job titles, just average people with their own screw-ups. What is less average […]

    Loving the Dreadful Day of Judgment: Fleming Rutledge's <i>Advent</i>

    Loving the Dreadful Day of Judgment: Fleming Rutledge’s Advent

    The Rev. Fleming Rutledge’s “generous orthodoxy” defies pinning down. She loves both the Day of Judgment and the oppressed in society (and thinks the former will relieve the latter); she believes in Purgatory (without indulgences) and in the nine ranks of angels; and she boldly declares Christ to be Lord and King and coming again […]

    Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s <i>He Held Radical Light</i>

    Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s He Held Radical Light

    What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? Christian Wiman’s new essays resist review. Reviews of art are always a strange effort, anyway. An exhibition of paintings or a play or a concert or a novel or a poem, all are experiences, experiences of difference—when our action is displaced but our hearts and […]

    Be Imitators of Me, As I Am of

    Be Imitators of Me, As I Am of

    You are looking for the thing that has meaning for them, and you are using that to get access to their inner world and draw their attention to interaction rather than solitary self-starvation. These are the words of Phoebe Caldwell, a renowned therapist, describing her work with people with autism. To communicate with nonverbal children […]

    Gravity, Grace, Weight, Love

    Gravity, Grace, Weight, Love

    In one of her strange and gleaming essays in The Givenness of Things, Marilynne Robinson describes grace this way: ‘Grace’ is a word without synonyms, a concept without paraphrase. It might seem to have distinct meanings, aesthetic and theological, but these are aspects of one thing—an alleviation, whether of guilt, of self-interest, or of limitation. […]

    Death, Critique, Heaven, and Hell

    Death, Critique, Heaven, and Hell

    Last spring, I finished my undergrad, where I drug myself through a severely disoriented and disorienting thesis. Among the many lessons I learned in the process, I discovered something that deeply hindered my academic writing: I hated it. This revelation surprised me because I entered that research project believing I liked it and did it […]

    Abstract Doubt

    Abstract Doubt

    Even when procrastinating on YouTube, I still exhibit the embarrassingly obscure interests of a unadulterated nerd. A week ago, a friend caught we wasting time while mesmerized by a clip of English change-ringing—a intricate method of chiming church bells of various tones to produce an eerie, ordered clamor. Sometimes I also watch lectures on theology […]

    The Apostles' Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

    The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

    I always judge books by their covers. In part, this habit is a terrible prejudice, but I also think it’s a useful way of deciding how to use limited time on an unlimited supply of books. Thankfully, Lexham Press crafted a beautiful design for their recent book The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient […]

    Negative Grace: Eliot's Dark Gospel

    Negative Grace: Eliot’s Dark Gospel

    I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and […]